An artist can say a cup of coffee is art, but he’s a damn fool if he says a cup of coffee isn’t a cup of coffee, just because it’s art.
I’m definitely pro-selfie. I think that anybody who’s anti-selfie is really just a hater. Because, truthfully, why shouldn’t people take pictures of themselves? When I’m on Instagram and I see that somebody took a picture of themselves, I’m like, ‘Thank you.’ I don’t need to see a picture of the sky, the trees, plants. There’s only one you. I could Google image search ‘the sky’ and I would probably see beautiful images to knock my socks off. But I can’t Google, you know, ‘What does my friend look like today?’ For you to be able to take a picture of yourself that you feel good enough about to share with the world – I think that’s a great thing.
You are personally responsible for becoming more ethical than the society you grew up in.
History, Texas Christian University
“From Under the Bow: A Redefinition of the Purpose and Potential of Museums for Society in the Digital Age”
Hi, I’m Lauren, the Social Media Desk’s intern. I’ve learned quite a bit in my brief stay here. So Wright and Mel encouraged me to share some of my experiences with you.
Much of my time is devoted to curating posts for the main NPR Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest and Twitter accounts. (I have an overwhelming number of tabs open at any given time.) I also work with shows and desks around the building to socialize special projects and answer questions about their personal accounts.
Over the last three months, I’ve gained a deeper understanding of NPR’s main social media platforms through experimentation. (Note: the NPR’s Visuals Team curates the NPR Instagram account.) Here’s some of what I’ve learned about the different kinds of engagement and user behaviors we see on each platform.
Facebook users tend to be the most vocal. Posts can have thousands of comments, running from crass to heartfelt to humorous. For every negative comment, there is an equally witty or thoughtful person to balance out the space. The more controversial the story, the higher the user engagement will be.
Self-policing is common practice. When someone makes a negative comment, another person swoops in to defend the other side. Users are comfortable defending each other and standing up for their ideas.
While sharing is the order of the day on Facebook, a great image or quote helps a link go further.
Here’s an example of a quote from Tim Gunn’s interview on Fresh Air that we posted to Facebook. The post got over 8,000 likes and was shared more than 1,000 times. It’s a fun quote, and it’s easier for people to parse instead of a generic text teaser.
The Tumblr set up does not provide the same space for comments. Individual voices are expressed through reblogging the post rather than a written comment. A successful post with 250 notes could have as few as one or two comments with full sentences. Photos work the best, and links are the least popular.
I wrote an original, short Tumblr post about black bears in Vermont. I thought it was a note-worthy story, but the source didn’t provide an image. In an effort to make the post go as far as possible, I searched in Tumblr for a photo of a black bear. I reblogged the photo from another Tumblr into the NPR account, added my text and voila — the post instantly became more appealing, and we’ve reached a wider audience.
It is easy for something to get buried in a flurry of tweets. This constant stream makes Twitter the least attractive platform for promotion, and best for engagement. When there’s something we’d like to push, we create a hashtag and schedule multiple tweets to reach the widest possible audience.
Our visuals team worked with NPR reporter Nathan Rott and NPR photographer David Gilkey to create an app with their reporting on the controversy surrounding wolves in Montana. We selected facts about wolves and tweeted them throughout the day with a picture, a link to the app and the hashtag WOLFFACT. Doing so increased the audience, and the hashtag allows people to find the story again easily.
With 70 million users, Pinterest holds an incredible amount of potential. Pinterest particularly lends itself to content like food, travel and headlines (in the form of images from NPR’s quote tool.) NPR’s account also provides a space where GIFs and Tiny Desk Concerts can live and be easily accessed.
The bottom line is that each platform reaches a different audience. It is important to understand the typical users of each platform, as well as NPR consumers in general.
As far as comments go, haters gonna hate.
Varying points of view are welcomed and encouraged to create interesting discussions, of course, but some people are just mean. I learned quickly that a thick skin is key when you work in a digital space. Stay positive, engage the right audience and know your platforms.
English Literature, Washington University in St. Louis
We have too many high sounding words, and too few actions that correspond with them.